Afghanistan

Afghan President to review counter-narcotic progress

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Kabul (dpa) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai will chair a committee meeting Tuesday to review the country's counter narcotics strategy in the lead up to next month's poppy planting season, according to a statement published Monday.

"There have been key successes over the past six months,'' the statement quoted Karzai as saying.

A survey to be published by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) next month, is expected to show a significant reduction in the area of land cultivated for opium poppy in Afghanistan, Karzai said.

The Afghan Special Narcotics Force (ASNF) has destroyed over 55 tonnes of opium since February 2005, as well as 60 drug refining laboratories.

The Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan (CNPA) now has a National Interdiction Unit (NIU) which last week seized 390 kilogrammes of heroin in eastern province of Nangarhar.

The statement also said that a Criminal Justice Task Force has been established and is fully operational, adding that 15 people have already been convicted on drugs charges and are due for sentencing.

The extremist Taliban regime that was toppled by an international military coalition led by the United States banned cultivation of all types of drugs. However, since the regime's fall farmers have resumed opium production.

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